Hot-hitting Crosby leading A's offense
Infielder one of few bright spots in struggling Oakland lineup
TORONTO -- When it comes to offensive production, the A's have not had much to smile about lately. One of the few bright spots, though, has been the recent play of Bobby Crosby.
The Oakland shortstop altered his swing recently and has seen an immediate improvement during the A's current series in Toronto. Entering Thursday's finale of a four-game set, Crosby had gone 4-for-10 in the series, notching two homers and a triple while driving in four of the A's five runs.
"He's had good focus at the plate," said Oakland manager Bob Geren. "He's working hard. He's got a couple home runs and a big triple. So that's good. We need guys to step up. We've got a lot of guys struggling, so we need guys to break out."
Crosby has been working heavily with A's hitting coach Ty Van Burkleo on trying to shorten his swing. The idea for Crosby is to make sure that he is striding much earlier with his lead foot in the batter's box.
"It allows you to see the ball well if your front foot is down," Crosby said. "It gives you more time. Before, I had a tendency to stand up straight and I kind of had a bigger leg kick. Now, it's a lot more simple and a lot more short."
Crosby and Van Burkleo had originally come up with the idea for the change in the beginning of July, right around the time the shortstop was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring.
"We talked about it when I was on the DL and I tried it right when I came back, but my timing was kind of off because I hadn't played," said Crosby. "So I kind of went away from it and just did what felt comfortable. Then I had some struggles and we talked about it and figured that we should go back to what we had talked about.
"So we did start working on it right before the series and, obviously, this time, it's really starting to click."
Crosby's increased production thus far in the Toronto series has been a huge positive, especially when considering his numbers since his return from the DL on July 18. Between that day and Monday's series opener against the Jays, Crosby had hit just .167 (9-for-54) with no home runs and six RBIs over 15 games.
"Bobby's been good about getting in the cages," said Van Burkleo, "but sometimes it just takes time for a player to take that transition into the game. And it's hard. I don't want him to think mechanically. You want him to build the foundation in the cage and build up his muscle memory from doing drills in the batting cages. Then, in the game, he's going to end up seeing the difference.
"Once you feel that swing one time," the coach continued, "it's easier to repeat it the next time. And I think that's really what's happening. He's starting to feel it in the games now. He's able to repeat it without too much conscious thought."
David Singh is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.